Lessons From The PlayStation 4 Launch That Microsoft Can Learn

by Kyle Hilliard on Nov 17, 2013 at 01:48 PM

The launch of the PlayStation 4 is behind us, and for the most part it went off without any major catastrophes. Some people are reporting issues, and others are having trouble signing into the PlayStation Network to update their consoles, but the majority of PlayStation 4 early adopters are working on their Resogun high scores, or taking on the Helghast in Killzone.

It’s Microsoft’s turn next week, as the Xbox One launches on Friday, November 22, and there are a few things Microsoft could learn from Sony’s launch to make everything go as smoothly as possible.

Lessons to learn

Encountering errors – Unfortunately, when it comes to mass-producing new technology, it’s nearly impossible to not have at least a few defective consoles. Some are encountering issues with blue lights, or white lights, or pulsating lights that prevent the system from starting up.

Most of these issues are covered by warranty, or fixable with a reset, but the problem that is coming up, is people aren’t sure what issue they’re encountering in order to try and get it fixed. A solution would be to associate on-screen error codes with these problems and make them easy to define and track down online.

Or in the cases where there is no display appearing on screen, make it easy to track down what the different light signifiers mean. Sony does have a helpful troubleshooting FAQ giving PlayStation 4 players a few options to fix their console, but right now it’s not as easy to find as it should be because it is embedded in Sony’s message boards.

If the Xbox One encounters the same problems, this would go a long way towards helping people get their consoles fixed or replaced as quickly as possible.

Real name IDs – The PlayStation 4 supports the option to display your real name right out of the gate, and while the Xbox One will support the naming convention eventually, it will not on launch day. It's a seemingly small feature, but one that personalizes the online experience. We've noticed a number of people gravitating toward the feature, as it's hard to keep track of PSN IDs for all of the people we play with. The sooner Microsoft implements this feature, the easier it will be to find and group up with your friends online.

Lessons to copy

Updating outside of the network – Sony offered the PlayStation 4’s firmware update online through its website before the launch of the console. You can learn about it here, but basically it allows you to get your system up to date without having to sign into the PlayStation Network.

Unsurprisingly, the PlayStation Network’s servers buckled under the weight of one million players trying to update their console. The ability to download the firmware update remotely, place it on a flashdrive, and use that to update the system is something PlayStation 3 players have been capable of doing for some time, but it came in especially handy this weekend.

It would be very helpful if Microsoft offered the same option for the Xbox One, because I am predicting that on Friday, Xbox Live might be a little difficult to sign on to.

Twitch – PlayStation 4 also had a great opening weekend with Twitch. The new PlayStation 4 Twitch features were working and highlighted on the service's website. The Xbox One needs to make sure that people are as excited about streaming on their Xbox Ones as they were this weekend about streaming on their PlayStation 4s.

Most of the PlayStation 4’s launch problems were resolved fairly quickly, with the exception of the defective consoles, which unfortunately there is no quick solution for. Hopefully the Xbox One has a similarly smooth launch. And hopefully everything stays classy.